Author Topic: Please stop DIYing the shit out of the home you want to sell - and a plumbing Q  (Read 18626 times)

Elisabeth

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I am pleading with anyone about to embark on a DIY adventure in plumbing: please be kind to your future buyers, and hire a plumber to do the job right. Some things are great for DIY projects, like decorating, or perhaps anything if YOU are going to live with the results. But please, pay kindness forward to anyone forking over half a million for your home that needs work in obvious ways. We have just discovered the not-so-obvious ways... and yes, I had a home inspection prior.

Along with the cosmetic horror that abounds in our home - shitty corners on the crown molding, crooked chair rails, uneven trim around door frames, flooring going multiple directions, baseboards not secure and falling off (hey, at least I can remove them to paint over puke green walls), baseboards nailed onto old baseboards - we discovered major plumbing problems 5 days after moving in/closing. My mother in law arrived - literally walked in the door from the airport - to the first floor bathroom spewing shit all over the tile and into the hallway, and the basement pipes were leaking, creating a nice wading pool downstairs. I told my MIL I had just finished dinner if she was hungry. She said, "Oh, don't worry, shit happens." At least she likes to stay busy.

A plumber diagnosed the major problems with the toilet. Check. The upstairs shower wouldn't drain. He came down and asked if I had done the tile myself. "No, we just moved in," I said carefully. Well, the previous DIY genius didn't cover the drain as he laid tile, so there was a ball of grout in the pipe. Fantastic. I guess that guy saved a ton of money by going the DIY route; he was confident and persistent, but not smart.

The basement.... well, that is a CF. Thankfully it's unfinished so we can see all the pipes. The previous owner bought a new sump and moved the old one to the utility sink. The warranty won't cover it because it is the wrong pump; supposedly if it were the right one and simply broken, it would be covered. The washer is routed UP the wall, through some curvy pipes, and then down into this pump, then back up into the main line. Plumber says this configuration is senseless and will burn up the washer soon. Utility sink barely functions because of incorrect pump. Sump pipes flow to the main line, rather than going to ground outside.

The plumber's recommendation is to spend about $3200 to rework the pipes - washer and sump to a separate line that empty into a pit in the yard, so we don't pay sewer bills for this - and buy and install a new [correct] pump for the utility sink.

Question: Does this sound like the right course of action? And, thanks for letting me vent.

john6221

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It's probably to your best interest at this point to have a professional involved. I don't know about the $3200, so at least get multiple quotes.

But, if I were you, I'd be pretty upset with my home inspector. That sounds like stuff that he should have easily caught. What's the story there? Did he not find any issues?

Pigeon

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Sometimes the alleged professionals do stupid stuff, too.  We had more plumbing and other problems with our brand new house than any of the ones that we had bought from owners.

That your plumbing problems went unnoticed makes one wonder what exactly home inspectors do.  I kind of wonder if they are all in cahoots with the local realtors.  We've watched a couple of seasons of Holmes Inspection on Netflix and it's enough to make me want to go live in a cave.

I would probably get a second estimate on the plumbing.

fiftyincher

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I'd want some answers out of the home inspector. He/she didn't check all the drains? I don't think you can blame them about the wrong pumps, but certainly the washer piping.

$3200 to run some pvc? That's sounds really high.

GizmoTX

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What a nightmare! The previous owner & the inspection company should bear some liability for this. Our state requires disclosure, with liability if it's not.

I question the advice for a separate line to dump gray water into a backyard pit. Our sewer bill is based on the amount of water used, so where it goes after that has no effect on the bill. I certainly wouldn't want a pit in my backyard.

I'd get another estimate.

Elisabeth

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Thanks all. I'll definitely get a second quote. My understanding of the home inspection is to check stuff such as if the water heater is working. The pump configured with the utility sink "works" - I was there when it was tested - but wouldn't work if you ran a lot of water for a while. The pipes going up and down and all over make no sense. The sump going into the main was identified and the seller refused to fix it (I think it is not to code) but we still closed knowing that at least would have to be changed at some point.

Our new county charges two fees for water - one for the water, and one for the sewer, so anything going into the sewer is a separate charge.

Our old place had a septic system, so I am familiar with the method for digging and filling the pit to leach into the back. This water would only be from the sump and the washer - not any of the other stuff in the house that should be sewage.

It is a disaster, but the bright side is that aside from some unMustachian bills we can foresee, the new house is 1.1 miles from both of our jobs! We can walk, bike, or crawl... once we make it out of the wading pool.

Elisabeth

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Oh, and my understanding of the work:

-new pipes and set up for the washer/sump, across the back wall of the basement
-seal old sections of pipe
-replace incorrect pump
-drill a hole through the back of the house to the outside
-dig trench and run pipe to desired location of pit
-dig pit approx 4x2ft, with 2 leach trenches, and fill all with gravel

FeynmanFan

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Work with a licensed plumber and ensure the locality issues a permit. Some localities have grey water codes; others do not.

If your plumber resists getting a permit, I'd be wary. If you don't get a permit, you are continuing the errs of the DIY seller you have criticized.

$3200 doesn't sound like a lot for plumbing work, but then again I live in a high COLA area.

MrFrugalChicago

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Or maybe you mean don't be a DIY idiot?  Because I know how to do this stuff right.. and I would never buy a house that had these kind of problems, at least without getting a concession to pay for my time to fix them. Probably only a few 100 in materials to fix (+ if you need a new sump pump), but lots of labor.. could be a fun project to fix and learn for next time.

My current place has shoddy electrical in the basement done by DIY idiot.. spent my weekend redoing half of it. Hopefully will do it next week too. My home inspector "missed it", but I caught it, because I knew what to look for.. so I priced in a rewire of the basement into my offer.

justajane

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We've had a lot of plumbing done on our house and FWIW that bid sounds reasonable to me. And we don't live in a high cost of living area.

Jack

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  • When you say "home inspector," are you talking about somebody the mortgage company hired or somebody you hired? When people give the advice "get a home inspection" they're talking specifically about choosing and hiring an inspector yourself. That's no guarantee of getting a competent inspector, but it sure helps!
  • Despite the fact that it's the inspector's job to inspect and give a professional opinion, they all make you sign a paper absolving them for liability if they fail to notice a problem. I'm not sure how enforceable such things are in court, but you should consider it before going after him.
  • It seems to me that the problem with your house is not DIY, but rather incompetent (and in this case, apparently un-permitted) DIY. I know very little about plumbing, but even I know enough to avoid those sorts of stupid mistakes. I realize you're upset, but there's no reason to condemn all DIYers.
  • It makes sense for the sump pump to drain into the yard because (a) dealing with rainwater/groundwater (water that comes from outside) anyway and (b) should only run in occasional circumstances. IMO, it does not make sense for the washer to drain to outside -- that drain should be plumbed to the sanitary sewer / septic tank.
  • Draining the sump pump into the sanitary sewer isn't necessarily "wrong" in the sense that it harms you, it just increases the load on the sewer system. Although fixing it would be good for the environment, I'd only fix it if code forced me to.
  • For the scope of work listed (inc. digging a pit in the yard), $3200 sounds reasonable to me.

Le Barbu

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The washer grey water to a pit? Are you sure it is ok with the code?

With the info you provided, I would re-run the ABS pipe properly (myself) and connect washer to the main sewage, never saw a washer connected to a pit (pro or not). It is an easy job and about 100$ material (including pipes, tools, glue, etc)

About the sump, is it working every day or every week or is it just in case of a flood? The urge to solve is a lot different.

A DYI job done properly is as good as a pro doing an average job. If someone can let grout clog the toilet drain, he's the one who can do stupid things anytime, even in his job!

I did some landscaping myself 7 years ago (stone steps and walls) and my neighbors hired PROs. My steps and walls are still perfectly level and EVERY other jobs looks like shit. I would be able to do some litle repairs if needed because I did the job at firt, neighbors are clueless and will have to hire again !

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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When I sold a house, the home inspector missed an entire full bathroom. He also thought that the garage, being built of cinder blocks, had a fire barrier, and then was upset that it didn't go up all the way to the roof of the garage.

MrFrugalChicago

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The washer grey water to a pit? Are you sure it is ok with the code?

Think every septic out there. It is dumping grey and brown water to the yard. But if you already have a sewer hookup, they are not usually metered, so it is "free" to discharge to the sewer.. why use a pit when a free sewer line is already there?


With the info you provided, I would re-run the ABS pipe properly (myself) and connect washer to the main sewage, never saw a washer connected to a pit (pro or not). It is an easy job and about 100$ material (including pipes, tools, glue, etc)

You must not see a lot of basements around where you live?  The main sewer line is normally about 4' underground, a basement washing machine is normally like 7-8' underground. The basement washing machine + basement bathrooms have to go to a sump to get pumped up to sewer level


About the sump, is it working every day or every week or is it just in case of a flood? The urge to solve is a lot different.



Lots of ways to do this. I actually have 2 sumps on my house. 1 collects rainwater from my weeping tiles (that get water only when it rains), and pushes it out to the yard at ground level. The 2nd sump is for basement washing machine and bathroom, and pushes the waste out to my septic.


Melf

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Quote
The plumber's recommendation is to spend about $3200 to rework the pipes - washer and sump to a separate line that empty into a pit in the yard, so we don't pay sewer bills for this - and buy and install a new [correct] pump for the utility sink.

The idea of not having to pay a sewer bill/charge for this water doesn't really make sense to me.  I've never seen a utility that metered the sewer usage.  I believe it's based on your water usage so I don't think spending the money to pump the washer and sump pump discharge to a pit is going to save you any money on your water/sewer bill.  I think it's just going to end up costing more in the long run unless you plan to use the gray water from this pit for irrigation.  Maybe I read something wrong or took something wrong in your description.

mginwa

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You may be able to go back to the seller for remedy on this. It sounds like the work was far from code. Obviously it all depends on how your contract was structured, but it's worth looking into. You might want to have the house reinspected to make sure there aren't any other surprises lurking out there.

MrFrugalChicago

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You may be able to go back to the seller for remedy on this. It sounds like the work was far from code. Obviously it all depends on how your contract was structured, but it's worth looking into. You might want to have the house reinspected to make sure there aren't any other surprises lurking out there.

I have never seen a sales contract (in the US) that let you "go back" because something you missed in an inspection was not up to code. You are accepting the house as is.. thus the reason for the inspection.

Le Barbu

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The washer grey water to a pit? Are you sure it is ok with the code?

Think every septic out there. It is dumping grey and brown water to the yard. But if you already have a sewer hookup, they are not usually metered, so it is "free" to discharge to the sewer.. why use a pit when a free sewer line is already there?


With the info you provided, I would re-run the ABS pipe properly (myself) and connect washer to the main sewage, never saw a washer connected to a pit (pro or not). It is an easy job and about 100$ material (including pipes, tools, glue, etc)

You must not see a lot of basements around where you live?  The main sewer line is normally about 4' underground, a basement washing machine is normally like 7-8' underground. The basement washing machine + basement bathrooms have to go to a sump to get pumped up to sewer level


About the sump, is it working every day or every week or is it just in case of a flood? The urge to solve is a lot different.



Lots of ways to do this. I actually have 2 sumps on my house. 1 collects rainwater from my weeping tiles (that get water only when it rains), and pushes it out to the yard at ground level. The 2nd sump is for basement washing machine and bathroom, and pushes the waste out to my septic.

In my area, almost every main sewer line is 8' underground since you are in "town" and house is built after 1970.

Anyway, even if this case the sewer is 4' underground, a setup like your (with 2 sump for 2 different uses) is probably the best. Most of the 3,200$ quote is related with concrete piercing, diging, etc. If plumber install 2 sump + some ABS pipe & fitting, I really don't see how he can charge 3,200$ ???

Elisabeth

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We are talking with the realtor to find out if the warranty will cover anything at all.

Our area charges for water and also for sewer. There are a lot of neighborhoods on well water but with city sewer, so I guess splitting the two makes sense here?

The basement sump is on a lot when it rains. We live in Virginia which means winter is often rainy.

Thanks for all the ideas. I am a fan of DIYing when you a) know what you are doing and b) are the one living with the results/consequences. Not a fan when one is passing shoddy work onto another human.

MrFrugalChicago

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Thanks for all the ideas. I am a fan of DIYing when you a) know what you are doing and b) are the one living with the results/consequences. Not a fan when one is passing shoddy work onto another human.

But everyone has different standards. What is shoddy work to you is "cheap way to get X" for someone else.. i.e. they would rather have a shoddy basement bathroom that smells bad vs no basement bathroom at all!

Stuff out in the open to me is all fair game. You can see it before you buy. Now shoddy work buried behind drywall is more annoying.. but that doesn't seem to really apply here.

Elisabeth

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Oh, and the county permits disposal of grey water in the yard within certain parameters. There is also a pretty progressive movement in the area to re-plumb and use grey water to flush toilets, etc to save on environmental costs.

Le Barbu

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You may be able to go back to the seller for remedy on this. It sounds like the work was far from code. Obviously it all depends on how your contract was structured, but it's worth looking into. You might want to have the house reinspected to make sure there aren't any other surprises lurking out there.

I have never seen a sales contract (in the US) that let you "go back" because something you missed in an inspection was not up to code. You are accepting the house as is.. thus the reason for the inspection.

I bought 3 houses in my life and never asked for inspection but let me ask this to the one who did. If you can't "go back" to the previous owner, why can't you "go back" to the inspector? I totaly miss the point for a professional inspection if: 1- they miss so much obvious issues, 2- you cannot "go back" on their job.

MrFrugalChicago

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I bought 3 houses in my life and never asked for inspection but let me ask this to the one who did. If you can't "go back" to the previous owner, why can't you "go back" to the inspector? I totaly miss the point for a professional inspection if: 1- they miss so much obvious issues, 2- you cannot "go back" on their job.

Think of your random single mom with 2 kids. Never turned a wrench. Knows nothing about houses.

Buying a house is scary. You have seen the TV shows of someone buying a house with non-functioning electric and a leaky roof. You don't want to do that. You buy an inspector to help point out any major flaws so you can make an informed decision.

For MOST people in the world, it is $300-$500 well spent to avoid buying a house with 100k in hidden problems. Will an inspector catch everything? No. But for many people, they will catch a LOT more than they would catch on their own, letting them make a more informed decision.

guitar_stitch

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Oh, and the county permits disposal of grey water in the yard within certain parameters. There is also a pretty progressive movement in the area to re-plumb and use grey water to flush toilets, etc to save on environmental costs.

The only problem with discharging your effluent to the yard is it will find its way to surficial water systems.  Detergents and such contain nitrates, leading to algae blooms that can disrupt local eco systems, especially on top of fertilizer runoff.  (Huge problem in Florida)

There isn't really a good way to meter sewer.  (I am a programmer/project implementations for a water utility by day.)  Sewer is generally based on potable water consumption at a higher charged rate per billed unit (most places bill per 1000 gallons).  It shows up as two charges, but is based off the same reading.  For Well potable with city sewer, those customers are generally flat-rate sewer customers, unless the water company has assumed the liability of installing a meter in the well system.

Elisabeth

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Oh, and the county permits disposal of grey water in the yard within certain parameters. There is also a pretty progressive movement in the area to re-plumb and use grey water to flush toilets, etc to save on environmental costs.

The only problem with discharging your effluent to the yard is it will find its way to surficial water systems.  Detergents and such contain nitrates, leading to algae blooms that can disrupt local eco systems, especially on top of fertilizer runoff.  (Huge problem in Florida)

There isn't really a good way to meter sewer.  (I am a programmer/project implementations for a water utility by day.)  Sewer is generally based on potable water consumption at a higher charged rate per billed unit (most places bill per 1000 gallons).  It shows up as two charges, but is based off the same reading.  For Well potable with city sewer, those customers are generally flat-rate sewer customers, unless the water company has assumed the liability of installing a meter in the well system.

That is a really good point. I don't use detergent but some future owner might, so probably best to just send the sump to ground if we do the project. Despite being close to a city, we have 1/2 acre that backs up to a little park and is a conservation easement.

Interesting about water utility - I'll have to find out that the sewer is a flat fee. Good info.

Le Barbu

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I bought 3 houses in my life and never asked for inspection but let me ask this to the one who did. If you can't "go back" to the previous owner, why can't you "go back" to the inspector? I totaly miss the point for a professional inspection if: 1- they miss so much obvious issues, 2- you cannot "go back" on their job.

Think of your random single mom with 2 kids. Never turned a wrench. Knows nothing about houses.

Buying a house is scary. You have seen the TV shows of someone buying a house with non-functioning electric and a leaky roof. You don't want to do that. You buy an inspector to help point out any major flaws so you can make an informed decision.

For MOST people in the world, it is $300-$500 well spent to avoid buying a house with 100k in hidden problems. Will an inspector catch everything? No. But for many people, they will catch a LOT more than they would catch on their own, letting them make a more informed decision.

Totaly agree here, but can you "go back" on the inspector that missed things? Thats my main concern. If the answer is YES, then its a good idea to spend 300-500$.

The random single mom with 2 kids who never turned a wrench and knows nothing about houses can also rent a place to live or buy a property in her range of competence (like people buy reliable/new cars). Not always the optimal option $$$ but a lot less issue to deal with. IDK

Pigeon

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The contracts for home inspections I've had have been worded such that the inspector isn't liable for anything other than any damage he or she might do during the inspection.  They aren't liable for problems they don't catch.

MrFrugalChicago

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Totaly agree here, but can you "go back" on the inspector that missed things? Thats my main concern. If the answer is YES, then its a good idea to spend 300-500$.

The random single mom with 2 kids who never turned a wrench and knows nothing about houses can also rent a place to live or buy a property in her range of competence (like people buy reliable/new cars). Not always the optimal option $$$ but a lot less issue to deal with. IDK

Correct they are not liable. If what you want is a no cost for such things, you want a home warranty.  Which is 2-3k not 300-500. But even that won't cover shoddy do it-youself work.

Greg

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Yikes!  What a story.  I agree that not all DIY is necessarily bad.  For instance, I do a lot of home things DIY, but I also know what I'm doing usually (design/build professional).

Clothes washer waste to a drywell is likely not permitted without a pumpable/inspectable settling tank as a septic system would have.  Drainage sump is probably ok.

Le Barbu

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Totaly agree here, but can you "go back" on the inspector that missed things? Thats my main concern. If the answer is YES, then its a good idea to spend 300-500$.

The random single mom with 2 kids who never turned a wrench and knows nothing about houses can also rent a place to live or buy a property in her range of competence (like people buy reliable/new cars). Not always the optimal option $$$ but a lot less issue to deal with. IDK

Correct they are not liable. If what you want is a no cost for such things, you want a home warranty.  Which is 2-3k not 300-500. But even that won't cover shoddy do it-youself work.

What a job, if one can grab a permit for home inspections, he could do 2-3/day, copy&paste with a Word pro-forma and run away with 1000$ a day. No liability, sorry, I am speachless. 

MrFrugalChicago

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What a job, if one can grab a permit for home inspections, he could do 2-3/day, copy&paste with a Word pro-forma and run away with 1000$ a day. No liability, sorry, I am speachless.

Like most low skill, high pay jobs, the downside is competition. There are a lot of people out there doing it. So your business will come from referrals from real estate agents who know you are a yes-man, not a problem finder. So most of your week will be talking to real estate agents and telling them why they should send clients your way (hint - being good at finding problems is not on the list, as that could cause a deal to fall through)

kendallf

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I'm DIYing the shit out of a house I plan to sell right now.. including some plumbing.  If you bought my house, you wouldn't have problems from work I have done, I can tell you that.  You might criticize imperfections here and there, but I do that with professional jobs as well.

I bought a vacant, 65 year old fixer upper two years ago and hired a home inspector to go through it with me.  I'm a handy guy but that was money well spent.  He let me go through with him; I pulled on coveralls and we crawled under the house, through the attic, and generally all over.  That guy was sharp; for instance on plumbing, he ran the tub about half full, then pulled the drain.  We went underneath to find a healthy leak that didn't really show when just running small quantities through the tub drain.  He had an IR temp sensor and ran it down the walls, checking for hot spots in wiring that would indicate bad junctions.  We found the rotten wood under the bathroom where the plumbing was leaking in the wall.. etc.

Did he miss some stuff?  Certainly.  I replaced the roof and A/C within 6 months of buying the house; both checked OK when we inspected.  As your MIL says, shit happens.  :-)

Le Barbu

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What a job, if one can grab a permit for home inspections, he could do 2-3/day, copy&paste with a Word pro-forma and run away with 1000$ a day. No liability, sorry, I am speachless.

Like most low skill, high pay jobs, the downside is competition. There are a lot of people out there doing it. So your business will come from referrals from real estate agents who know you are a yes-man, not a problem finder. So most of your week will be talking to real estate agents and telling them why they should send clients your way (hint - being good at finding problems is not on the list, as that could cause a deal to fall through)

I saw that one coming!

On the other end, I know people who hired an inspector prior to buy, he find a list of issues (some were managable, some were freaking scary) and they bought anyway. Still, I don't know why they pay for inspection.

My brother himself bought a house I told him to do not buy just seing pictures on the agent website, the inspector (800$) find a list that I would have made me run away from the deal even with a 25% discount. Since 8 years, the house is a money-pit and a nightmare. Sad but it is the human nature...

AlanStache

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That really sucks.

Quote
Along with the cosmetic horror that abounds in our home - shitty corners on the crown molding, crooked chair rails, uneven trim around door frames, flooring going multiple directions, baseboards not secure and falling off (hey, at least I can remove them to paint over puke green walls), baseboards nailed onto old baseboards ....
Co-worker decided not to buy a house based in large part on some cigarette burns on the counter near the master toilet, owner apparently was to lazy to use an ash tray when having a sit down.  Coworker took this as a sign that the owner might not really care about the house and did not want to buy any hidden lazy repairs.  100% saw the logic and will try to apply it on any future purchases.

In engineering its an art to knowing when to really look into small inconsequential problems before the big obvious ones  as sometimes the small ones are symptoms of much bigger fundamental problems that have yet to be seen.

I too learned the hard way the inspector works for the realtor and the bank not you. 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 01:45:00 PM by AlanStache »

paddedhat

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Sorry about your current shit storm, but you are getting some good advice here.  You might want to double check with a free visit to a lawyer, but chances are you are going to get a big ole' bag of nothing from the home inspector, or the previous owner.
a significant percentage of home inspectors are useless whores who live by providing the real estate industry what it wants, a clean bill of health on any home that's not obviously falling over, or on fire. Because of this, their contracts are so full of weasel language that you typically don't stand a chance. The previous owner was a typical hack, and unless he clearly did work that required a permit, failed to get one, AND violated the applicable codes, you got nothing. It isn't a crime to be a hack. The plumber is playing you. The whole "saving money on sewer bills", as noted, is bullshit. If you need to pump UP to drain the washer, or any plumbing fixture, there are specific, code approved units that do so. Typically this involves draining the washer into a laundry sink. The sink drains into a sealed lift pump, about the size of a drywall bucket, which pumps up and into the soil line. Any of this work is very basic, and well within the scope of a reasonable competent DIYer. Good luck.

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I'm DIYing the shit out of our home. Granted, we want to live in it and not sell it, but the vast majority of electrical work (shock horror!) we're fixing is stuff that has been buggered up by the person who did it a few years back, apparently a professional electrician. Stuff like using green wire for the positive lead to a power point? Using a ceiling mounted light fitting as a junction box? My non-licenced but very pedantic husband has spent many hours in the roof basically making sure the place doesn't burn down and nobody gets electrocuted.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but that's all it is. Professional licensed tradesmen can sometimes be worse.

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Interesting about water utility - I'll have to find out that the sewer is a flat fee. Good info.

If you're on city water, then your sewer isn't flat rate.  It's going to be charged based on the number of gallons of water you used.

Another way to think about this: If you run your washing machine, you're paying to dispose of the wastewater it consumes regardless of whether it hits the drain or your yard.

MrFrugalChicago

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If you're on city water, then your sewer isn't flat rate.  It's going to be charged based on the number of gallons of water you used.

Another way to think about this: If you run your washing machine, you're paying to dispose of the wastewater it consumes regardless of whether it hits the drain or your yard.

This is usually but not always true. For example my inlaws have a summer water rate, and a winter rate rate. The logic is some % of summer water (20%?) goes to watering the lawn and not back in to the sewer, so they can change 20% less sewer fee per gallon of water used. In the winter 100% of the water used goes back to the sewer so the full rate is back in effect.

Net result is the same - draining your washing machine in the yard does nothing ;)

CommonCents

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This probably isn't the forum to tell people not to DIY.  Not to DIY shitty, sure.

It's too late now for you, but this is why we went with a credentialed inspector.  ("The American Society of Home Inspectors, founded in 1976, is the Nation's oldest and most respected  professional organization of Home Inspectors, and has received independent NCCA accreditation to award the ASHI Certified Inspector credential to those members meeting our highest standard.")  We also got a reference from a friend.  The guy couldn't do it, but recommended someone else - who happened at the time to be VP for ASHI, now President.)  Saving pennies on an inspector is one of those penny-wise, pound foolish decisions.

This is also why we walked away from a house with a ton of problems.  We figured if the inspector found all of that, what else had he missed?  It was a renovation, but major issues included untreated and fixed termite damage, chimney flues not properly separated, foundation cracks through bricks, no hot water - storage tank issue likely.  The contractor also created issues in the renovations - buckling shingles (too tight), porch boards w/potential water pooling issues (too tight), improperly flashed windows, improperly insulated areas that shouldn't have been.  And oodles of minor ones - broken garage doors, missing handrails, missing/problematic drainpipes, bath vents, etc.  He actually ran the hot water for 5 minutes to check on the temp of the water (lo and behold it didn't stay hot).  Our friends used him too, and he found that the siding was improperly put on the apartment they were considering that could have resulted in massive water issues.  (They walked too, when the contractor refused to let the siding manufacturer look at it.)

But most inspectors require you to sign against holding them liable for missing things.  I suspect you could *maybe* only fight it if they were negligent.  (It's hard to find everything - there's a ton of stuff that may only be discovered later.)  Missing a bathroom I could see as negligent.

Spork

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Clothes washer waste to a drywell is likely not permitted without a pumpable/inspectable settling tank as a septic system would have.  Drainage sump is probably ok.

This must vary regionally.

Dumping washing machine/gray water directly to the ground is allowed outside the city limits here and it is very common.  You're even allowed to dump raw sewage on the ground here if you have > a certain number of acres.  (I forget the size restrictions and ... not that you'd want to anyway.)

jawisco

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You have two charges - one for water and one for sewer.  I do too.  But both those charges are based on how much water comes into your house, but they aren't the same price or billed together because they both have their "base" charge to cover your connection to water, sewer, grid, etc.  They are not in any way metering your sewage!  That would be a challenge to even do on a 6" sewer pipe.

So there is no savings in putting water out in the backyard.  Lot's of places won't let you discharge from your sump into the sewer - it isn't legal.

I think your current plumber is off base with his plan for a bunch of reasons.  Get two more quotes, let the plumbers come in and determine the problem (don't tell them what is wrong) and tell you what they recommend going forward.  Then make your decision.

I DIY plumbing all the time, but I do agree with you that it can be a bad idea - mostly because often times it is buried.  Similar to electrical.  I can't say I always do it, but I have consulted with electricians and plumbers and it was always a good idea.  Sleep better at night.

I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Spork

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

Mississippi Mudstache

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

Jack

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

I'm guessing either having to replace a sewer line all the way to the street (including closing off said street, etc.) or having a large leak in a second-floor bathroom that floods the first floor.

Timmmy

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This is my plumbing surprise left for me...  I assume it was a DIY job



That's the old septic tank that they just left capped and in the ground when they stopped using it.  It had a metal lid that eventually rusted through and the few inches of dirt on top of the lid fell in nearly swallowing my and my dog.


DIY is fine, just don't leave a trap for future owners. 

Spork

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

I had to replace a large run of the waste lines on a concrete slab house.  Bonus: the leaky waste lines were in expansive clay soil, causing the foundation to heave.  I had to have 30-something piers added to stabilize the foundation. 

That cost didn't include the repairs FROM the repairs.... i.e. replacing/repairing interior flooring and exterior patio.

steveo

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I recently fixed my toilet from running all the time. I think I've done a really good job and it cost me a lot less than getting a plumber in. I suppose it all depends on what is being done and how much care you take.

Rural

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

I had to replace a large run of the waste lines on a concrete slab house.  Bonus: the leaky waste lines were in expansive clay soil, causing the foundation to heave.  I had to have 30-something piers added to stabilize the foundation. 

That cost didn't include the repairs FROM the repairs.... i.e. replacing/repairing interior flooring and exterior patio.


So what caused the waste lines to leak? Because me, my slab, and my clay want to Not Do that, whatever it was.

Spondulix

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I bought 3 houses in my life and never asked for inspection but let me ask this to the one who did. If you can't "go back" to the previous owner, why can't you "go back" to the inspector? I totaly miss the point for a professional inspection if: 1- they miss so much obvious issues, 2- you cannot "go back" on their job.

Think of your random single mom with 2 kids. Never turned a wrench. Knows nothing about houses.

Buying a house is scary. You have seen the TV shows of someone buying a house with non-functioning electric and a leaky roof. You don't want to do that. You buy an inspector to help point out any major flaws so you can make an informed decision.

For MOST people in the world, it is $300-$500 well spent to avoid buying a house with 100k in hidden problems. Will an inspector catch everything? No. But for many people, they will catch a LOT more than they would catch on their own, letting them make a more informed decision.
I'd say $1000 is well spent to catch 100k in hidden problems! Who says you only need one general inspection?

We had extra inspections for the red flags the general inspector caught. We had a plumber, roofer, fireplace repair, HVAC, and a contractor come out (to look at a potential structural issue). It was an extra $600-1000 expense, but the return was over 10k. Plus, in 5 years, there's only been a handful of minor issues caught that we didn't know about before moving in.

BTW I don't think it's just an issue of DIY. Home Depot renovations have pretty ****y workmanship. Most of our house upgrade was done by them with the previous owners.

Spork

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I would calm down and relax.  Even if plumbing turns out to be expensive to fix, it likely won't even cost 1% of your purchase price.  If you can afford the house, 1% of purchase price is not a calamity in any way...

Good advice.  I had a $20k (on a 100k house) plumbing issue where DIY wasn't even involved...

That's insane. I completely replaced the waste and supply lines on a small 2 bathroom house for under a grand. What happened that cost you 20K?

I had to replace a large run of the waste lines on a concrete slab house.  Bonus: the leaky waste lines were in expansive clay soil, causing the foundation to heave.  I had to have 30-something piers added to stabilize the foundation. 

That cost didn't include the repairs FROM the repairs.... i.e. replacing/repairing interior flooring and exterior patio.


So what caused the waste lines to leak? Because me, my slab, and my clay want to Not Do that, whatever it was.

Any combo of:
* it was 30 years old.  Cast iron. The bottom rusted out of it.
* probably had a low spot in it
* this house was somewhat poorly built in a housing boom by a GC that was funded by "daddy" building his first house
* it had previous foundation work that might have shifted the plumbing to no longer drain correctly
* this was the drain line from the kitchen.  Dish washer soap is extremely caustic... especially if it is sitting in a puddle in cast iron for 30 years

all of this... not DIY work, I might add.

The "leak" was 15 feet long.  Imagine an upside down U made of iron.  That was my drain line.

if you're so inclined:
entire project: http://picasaweb.google.com/101796115660518474565/Foundation?authuser=0&feat=directlink
or just jump to the drain pipe:  http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/1hKZ45JJjAkVyLijs8DHI9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink